Tag Archives: human insight

The difference between a product and a service

In my last post, I shared my experience of pouring hundreds of cans of beer down the drain in Vietnam due the high level of care Heineken take to ensure that every can of their lager meets their strict quality standards.

I mentioned several more of my favourite brands that, presumably, are managed in the same way: Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, Weetabix, Marmite, Heinz Baked Beans, Guinness, Laphroaig.

I am sure you have your favourites too.

Brands like this are known in the trade as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) – and the CV of anyone who is anyone in marketing is strengthened by FMCG experience. Read more on The difference between a product and a service…

Strategic thinking: be decisive but keep an open mind

In life, there are only three decisions you need to get right – and one of them is where you live.

In a TV programme called Escape to the Country, couples are helped to move house from an urban to rural location. The format of the programme is simple: Read more on Strategic thinking: be decisive but keep an open mind…

Read more on Strategic thinking: be decisive but keep an open mind…

When you don’t know thine own self

Last week, I heard Jeffrey Archer promoting his latest book on the radio.

In the light of Chris Huhne’s jail sentence for perverting the course of justice, the presenter insisted on asking Archer about his own experiences in prison. Monosyllabic were the answers. Not quite the PR His Lordship was after.

Isn’t it odd how some people take for granted an outstanding talent they possess in sacrifice of a dream they are never going to achieve? Read more on When you don’t know thine own self…

The Richard Branson and Mike Oldfield story: When you need someone to do something they don’t want to do

Cynics might interpret the title of this post as a definition of marketing and, thus, the world we live in today. But, as marketing is my job, how could I agree?

One of the advantages of working in creative businesses is that, on the whole, decision-making is based on creative talent and strength of argument rather than rank or pay grade.

After all, you can’t expect people to write what they don’t think, draw what they can’t see or film what they cannot imagine. Read more on The Richard Branson and Mike Oldfield story: When you need someone to do something they don’t want to do…

What makes a snob?

In Britain, the question is did Andrew Mitchell call the Downing Street police ‘plebs’?

Elsewhere it is ‘who on earth is Andrew Mitchell?’ I suspect, at the time of the incident, the police did not know who he was either: which may be why they asked him to exit Downing Street by the little gate at the side rather than the big gate in the middle.

Andrew Mitchell is the Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield. In the recent Cabinet reshuffle, he was appointed government Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury. Not for long methinks.

The police record of the incident is revealing: Read more on What makes a snob?…

A job that’s forever not just for life

This week, anyone who’s anyone in advertising has been basking in sunny Cannes at the International Advertising Festival.

As no one knows what advertising is anymore, which is not great advertising for advertising, the Festival is now called the International Festival of Creativity.

Take it from me, as I’ve been there done that, this is a very expensive occasion which may or may not be appropriate in these austere times. Read more on A job that’s forever not just for life…

Whistleblowing – a call for new legislation

On 24 May, when I posted the first of this trilogy on whistleblowing, I referred to a front page article in Management Today on Michael Woodford, ‘the British chief executive who blew the whistle on a $1.7bn (£1bn) corporate fraud at Japanese electronics giant Olympus’.

Little did I know that now, only two weeks later, The Telegraph would report that:

Read more on Whistleblowing – a call for new legislation…

What makes you special?

Last night, I watched a TV programme called Safari Vet School with my teenage daughter. The show features a group of young vets helping to protect endangered animal species in a South African game reserve.

Whatever panics and dangers they faced, the local Head Vet, Dr Will Fowlds, exuded an extraordinary air of calm professionalism. At the end of the two weeks, he took them for a moment’s quiet reflection overlooking miles of unspoilt, distant African landscape.

This view has been here all my life. And it was here, one day, that I realised something very important and I hope you have learnt too: it is very difficult to interact with people around you or achieve your full potential until you understand who you are and what your weaknesses are; what you are good at and what you are special at.Read more on What makes you special?…

Labour a confused brand

This week it is Labour’s turn to make us cringe. 

At ‘Conference’ (cringe), did Ed Miliband clarify his own position and his party’s positioning, for surely the two are intertwined?

The answer, as with all these interchangeable career politicians, is that it is very difficult to pin down what they stand for. You have to go by what they say.

But how much of what they say can you believe?

Are they people of conviction and integrity – or do they put their own careers first (even before family)? I think we all know the answer. Read more on Labour a confused brand…

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